Wednesday, February 12, 2020

L.E.G.I.O.N. '91 #24

L.E.G.I.O.N. '91 #24 (February 1991)
title: "The Empire: Strikes Back!"
writer: Alan Grant
penciller: Jim Fern
inker: Jeff Albrecht
letterer: Gaspar Saladino
colorist: Lovern Kindzierski
editor: Art Young
cover art: Gary Leach 
review by: Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

Recap: The fate of the Durlan was finally revealed and we learned that when he disappeared he was transported to the 30th century. He found a universe no more welcoming to his people than it was in his own time, so he took a human disguise. After pondering his history as Brainiac's prisoner, and the somewhat twisted relationship he developed with Vril Dox after he was "freed" by Dox, the Durlan decided that his friend's dream of forming the L.E.G.I.O.N. was a noble one. In his guise of R.J. Brande, he planned to continue that dream by creating a Legion of his own in the 30th century. 

Back in the 20th Century, while the team dealt with the death of Lyrissa Mallor, Vril Dox decided that the team needed to turn its attention to another menace facing the universe, the Khundian Empire. 

This issue opens on the planet Ogen, which is at a stage of development similar to Medieval Europe. A man and his wife are tending to their farm when they come under attack by a gang of Khunds who have decided to use them to test their marksmanship.
The Khunds have been terrorizing this world and Vril Dox has brought the L.E.G.I.O.N. to put a stop to it. When a Khund execution squad comes for the local Mayor they instead find Lobo and his teammates waiting for them.
The L.E.G.I.O.N. makes quick work of the Khunds although Bek notices his powers are starting to fluctuate now that the Emerald Eye is no longer present. After receiving their payment from the local populace, Lobo leads the charge to get whatever useful information they can from the Khunds.
While Telepath investigates, the story movies on to Stealth, who has travelled to a distant planet to get away from Dox and have her baby. Sadly, she is unaware that Lyrissa did not survive her injuries and imagines that her friend is likely back on her feet by now. She also wonders if she will ever go back, and if so, whether the team would still have her.

On Cairn, Vril is conducting tests to see if he can free Lydea Darkstar from the Computer Tyrant's brainwashing. His suspicion is that only extreme pain could have caused such a drastic change, so only pain has a chance of curing it.

Marij'n discovers what he is doing and finds it repellent. They are arguing when Captain Comet interrupts to tell Dox that the planet Ogen is online for him. He asks Dox about the status of his application, but Dox dismisses them both and goes to talk to the squad on Ogen. The Telepath informs Dox that the Khunds have kidnapped a scientific genius to build them some sort of doomsday weapon but that the Khund he interrogated was too stupid to know much more.

Comet and Marij'n have go to the canteen where she shares her concerns that Dox's attempts to deprogram Lydea may kill her. She is also struggling over the loss of the Emerald Eye, which had made her feel so happy and powerful, but she sees now it was madness. It soon becomes obvious that Comet is having problems of his own.
Marij'n is worried about Comet but he assures her that his attack was merely the result of an old war wound that flares up now and again. She offers to help but he steers the conversation back to her concerns over Lydea. In his lab, Dox frets over the Khunds plan and his fear that the L.E.G.I.O.N. is not prepared to go up against Khundia. At the same time, he knows that such a doomsday weapon in their hands could alter the balance of power throughout the galaxy.

After the loss of Lyrissa and taking time out to check in on the Durlan, it was nice to get back to a more standard L.E.G.I.O.N. adventure. The opening scene with the farming couple was a bit disturbing but this title was never one to shy away from bloodshed. It was fun to see the Khunds get their comeuppance and watch our cast act as a team. Even Lobo showed his worth here, despite his blow up at Bek.

The most interesting part of this issue was watching Marij'n and Comet bond. Comet has had only a limited role so far, but I have a real fondness for the hero so I look forward to watching him integrate into the team more. Of course, Dox appears to be much less fond of Comet and is not exactly welcoming him with open arms. Given Comet's power level, I can only assume its Comet's more noble nature that is putting him off? A fear that he may not be as easily manipulated as some of the others? Only time will tell.

In any event, Marij'n is far more welcoming and has quickly connected with Comet. She started out as a very unlikable character but it did not take long for a more tender and compassionate side to emerge. Now that she has been freed from the Emerald Eye's influence, we see that more than ever. I cannot imagine what a horror it must have been to be married to Bek so I certainly would not mind seeing a relationship with Comet develop. (Yeah, I am just always going to find Bek irritating.) If their relationship does develop, will it be one of mere friendship or something more? Well, please check back next week and maybe we will start to get some hints.

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